This subject has been a big ol’ bee in my bonnet for a long time, especially since the Keurig style coffee systems are now ubiquitous. Much focus in recent years has revolved around the studies of potential dangers of BPA, or bisphenol A, but what about the myriad of other chemicals commonly used in plastics, demonstrated to also have damaging effects in the body? Now that BPA has been in the spotlight, many companies in the U.S. have been obliged to remove it from their products so that they can market them as “BPA free” and use alternate plastic ingredients instead. However, other chemicals in food-grade plastics have been shown to have even greater estrogenic and disruptive effects than that of BPA.
Here is an interesting NPR article and audio concerning how estrogenic chemicals are found in the majority of plastic items found in food and beverage packaging.
NPR article- Most Plastics Leach Estrogen-like Chemicals
The short story is this- plastics are very much a part of modern life, and some have been designated safe for use in food and beverage packaging. Their safety profile has been well documented in controlled lab studies, and only small amounts of plastic chemicals have been demonstrated to leach into food or beverages in lab safety studies for “common use.” So for storage of non-acidic, cooled food and drink items, contamination levels are minimal and not much to worry about. However, when plastics are exposed to hot water or foods, acidic food ingredients, UV light, mechanical wear and tear, or any combination of these factors (the stuff that can happen with actual use)- the amount of leaching have been shown in studies to increase exponentially by a thousand-fold and more per use. Have you ever tasted water from a bottle left in your car on a hot day? Snack food after it has been toted around in a plastic bag? It tastes bad, like plastic, right? Because that is exactly what you are ingesting.
(for more more details about types of plastics, references for how they leach into beverages and foods, and tips for safe selection and use- you can check out one of my previous articles: Plastic Water Bottles: How Safe Are They?)
So, we do our best to avoid putting hot beverages and food leftovers into plastic containers (glass, stainless steel and food-safe designated ceramics are much better choices.) But now there are K-cups- a fresh cup of plastic, er- I mean coffee, brewed into your mug every day. Combine hot water temperatures and the acidic qualities of coffee and now there’s a chance to spike leaching and chemical contamination to new heights. In studies, common plastic chemicals have been shown to interfere with healthy metabolism, promote breast tumor growth in animals as well as in human cells, significantly reduce sperm counts, increase obesity, and other disturbing effects. And these are just the short term use studies, very little is known about the long term effects of consuming these substances in low doses day in, day out for years and years. And, because K-cups can’t be recycled, there is no recycling code on them to even tell us which chemicals are in the plastic containers- their ingredients are completely hidden from consumers. Research is non-existent to ascertain their safety over years of use. So if we already have safer choices at hand, and demand is ultimately what drives the types of products manufactured, why not just use safer alternatives now?
We already have a lot of choices to navigate when it comes to maintaining our health, but it might be worth questioning where to draw the line on convenience versus safety. While hot coffee paired with plastic might be a relatively small detail to consider in life, the evidence nonetheless shows an insidious potential for harm on many levels. Environmental exposures to estrogenic compounds are already a clear and present burden on our bodies and will continue to affect generations to come. However, if making simple changes today can decrease your overall exposure, isn’t it worth it? Corporations and product innovation will follow our lead, and our dollars are the votes.
By all means, please enjoy the culinary and health benefits of consuming coffee, but be selective in the equipment that you use, and demand safety first as a consumer. Your body will thank you.
In response to incredibly high interest and many inquiries regarding this article, I researched and found the following stainless steel, reusable K-Cup device available on Amazon that is highly reviewed (similar versions made by “Ekobrew” are available at Walmart and Walgreens):
Ekobrew Stainless Steel Elite Cup, Refillable K-Cup For Keurig K-Cup Brewers
In Canada? You can find it here.
This device cuts down on the amount of plastic surface area that your hot water and brewing coffee will contact, improving safety (and taste, according to reviewers). It still routes water through a BPA-free plastic “dispersion cone” within the lid of the device, but it does not encapsulate the coffee grounds in plastic while steeping, like a k-cup does. It reduces waste in landfills, and will save you bundle of money in the long run by not paying a fortune for single use containers- estimated at $50- $124 per pound according to this NY Times article.
Of course- you still get some contact through the plastic lid and the hot water contact with plastic tubing with the Keurig machine itself. If you would like an efficient solution that skips the expensive coffee machine hardware as well as the requirement to pass hot liquids past ANY plastic or paper parts at all, check out The Elan Stainless Steel Re-usable cup or Bartelli Paperless Pour Over Coffee Dripper and Brewer – Permanent Reusable Ultra Fine Stainless Steel Mesh Micro Filter – Single Serve Cup or Small Pot. Brew your favorite coffees whenever you want, followed by a quick rinse, and you are done! (Improve taste of your coffee, while cutting out plastic waste and plastic chemical contaminants.)
For those who do not want to give up the convenience of disposable cups, particularly in the office environment, you could consider a single use, paper filter system. This has a small plastic ring at the top to secure it into place, but also greatly reduces plastic to hot water contact during brew time. This is a well-reviewed brand of organic coffee in a 97% biodegradable cup:
San%20Francisco Bay OneCup, French Roast, 80 Single Serve Coffees” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>San Francisco Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend, 36-Count OneCup Single Serve Cups
Author: Dr. Rivard is a licensed naturopathic doctor (N.D.) and owner of Seasons Natural Healthcare, LLC in southern NH. (And I love a good cup of espresso or coffee, brewed the old fashioned way.)
Announcement: new articles are coming soon about health and environmental wellness that you won’t want to miss! (I only publish 3-10 per year, so it won’t clutter your mailbox, promise!) Please look to the sidebar and follow my blog for more timely articles such as this one.
Yes, we stopped using K-cups about a year agorfor the very reason you describe in your article. In addition to the health risks, the packaging is wasteful and toxic for our environment.
Thanks for your comment, and good thing you discontinued. Please teach others how to be safer in using plastics, and choosing safer options whenever appropriate. Unfortunately, many assume that if a product is on the market- it must be safe. In truth, something is safe until proven without a doubt guilty, which can unfortunately take many years and damage to people before something is limited, restricted in use, or taken off the market. Or in the case of cigarettes, at least taxed.
I think using an ekobrew elite defeats the convenience of using k cups. Use San Francisco Bay brand. It is basically a filter k-cup enviro friendly convenient alternative to the plastic k- cups
I am curious to know about the new Keurig Vue with the new recyclable cups that are clear and re figured
wait a minute, aren’t all coffee percolators now plastic and thought the coffee pot itself might be glass, all the coffee holders the water runs through to brew the coffee are plastic so is it not the same outcome just the same?
Ekobrew has a plastic filter, reusable. Is that okay?
I would go for the stainless steel option- that reduces the amount of plastic that comes into contact with the hot water while brewing with the grounds.
I got a Keurig coffemaker and gave it away- the worst coffee to me and the K cupadds to non-biodegradeable waste
The reservoir is kept at a warm temperature for long periods (24/7 if you leave it in standby all the time).
I didn’t realize that, good point. Warm is not as bad as hot, as plastics are often rated for use from cold to mildly warm/room temperature settings. But even a little more heat for a long time could cause a lot more leaching.
There is a new k cup out with a coffee filter base and its not plastic and less waste I love my kuerig but the plastic cup freaks me out too. Look for the new cups and see what you think they boast about the environmental aspects of less waste.
Where do you get them?
I got mine at Shop Rite. Brand is New England Coffee. Coffee is good and no plastic cup. I’m sure there are others.
[…] Lead in the machine is concerning – the owner’s manual even warns of cancer risk. One blog I found had some very interesting information about various health issues that the machines could […]
Glad I didn’t buy one of those coffee makers. I use a Farberware stainless steel percolator & love it but they barely last a year. made in China.
What about buying the little coffee “basket” and putting whatever flavor of coffee in it? I bought one…you can buy them at Walgreens, Walmart, etc. They can be reused and presto…..no more plastic. Cheaper in the long run too.
I guess nobody else has thought about not using the k-cups and just using a reusable basket. i think the machine actually comes with one. but hey thats mob mentality for you. i load a tea bag in my reusable cup. tastes great.
I do the same! Cheers to being one in a million it seems!
I do the same! We use it for tea, or any kind of coffee since we all like different kinds. I think people over react. Just had this conversation about plastic water bottles and the dangers. Pretty soon our bodies will have no immune system left. JMO
I never did like them because the coffee tastes like plastic. I like the good old fashioned kind myself.
it does not taste like plastic!
I agree it does not taste like plastic. I love my keurig, and enjoy adding adding fresh grind beans and use a bio- k cup. I had uterine camcer 10 years ago, my mother never used cans, or plastic, always made fresh greens, spinach, exercise, walk after dinner. Ate all health food when I was younger, and still eat my oatmeal. But, I still got camcer. So I still got cancer and I and my parents did everything right. We never had a microwave until 15 years ago.I am doing well, thank goodness.
I agree. the coffee does not taste like plastic. The author of this article obviously for some reason does not like Keurig. She probably drinks her coffee from a Mr Coffee pot with a plastic basket for putting her coffee and filter. That brewing method is subjected to heat way longer than a K-cup….
Just use the organic pods,no plastic involved
I buy the newmans organic Kcups are those the one you reffer to?! Beacuse mine are as plastic as anyother one! Im planning to buy the refillable cup instead! If not can you please lead me towards a healthier version! Thanks!
I buy the Safeway O organic brand designed for use in Keurigs. They have a foil top, a tiny ring of plastic just to sit in the housing, and a coffee filter bottom. Love them!
The word organic on those pertains to the actual coffee, not the chemical changes that occur when brewed through a K-Cup system.
who makes them and where do you get them. Also do they fit all Keurigs?
Kroger carries the organic ones as well and they are as described by Sarah. Simple truth line
Reblogged this on RaisingNaturalKids and commented:
This is not news, but so often people don’t stop to think about how things are made before putting them into or onto their body. Whenever the combination of heat, moisture and plastic are involved, leaching of chemicals from the plastic occurs. It is best to brew coffee in the traditional makers, made of glass or stainless steel. As far as drinking it, ceramic or glass is best. Even most of those paper cups that delicatessens provide for their takeout hot liquids, has a coating of a thin plastic inside.
I use the reusuable pods – no plastic involved. Love them … and my Keurig!
What is the reusable pod made out of, Einstein??
metal mesh, its talked about in the article
I just can’t take any more of this!!! MOST of my coffee pot at home is made of plastic, except the pot itself, so I doubt I’m any better off than k-cups. I read some of the comments about using filtered water. What are the filters and filter pitchers made out of? PLASTIC!!!! What are most paper coffee cups lined with so they won’t leak? Plastic. And even if you get a travel cup with a stainless interior, the top, where I put my mouth, is plastic. What are frozen veggies, packaged meats, and dairy products packed in? Plastic. And lets not even get into canned products, and those new cardboard cartons that are supposed to be better than cans for stuff like tomato sauce? How do they keep the stuff from leaking out? Lined with PLASTIC!!! My dishwasher components, sponges, the dish soap container, and most of the pipes in my house that water SITS IN ALL DAY- ALL are or contain plastic. How can we REALLY get away from it? Not using a K-Cup is a drop in the bucket. For my 3 year old daughter, I don’t heat things in plastic, and for the most part don’t use plastic dishes, but am I supposed to scoop some yogurt out of a plastic cup that it’s been in for weeks, and into a glass container for a few hours so she can take it to school? As for me, my reproductive days are over and I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel tired for the rest of my life no matter what I do. I’m glad this information is out there, but I am so frustrated when I find out about stuff like this and then get no real solutions. Want to really help? Stop scaring people with articles like this unless you have some real ideas for TRULY fixing the problem.
Hi Kelli- thanks for your comment. Plastic is a necessary part of life, and makes life better in many ways. No need to be scared of all plastics, but the point of my article is remind you to not get lulled into thinking that just because something is popular or ubiquitous, that it is safe. In particular, plastic leaches some toxic substances at exponentially high rates when exposed to heat, which is a problem in single brew, disposable cup systems. Whether it contains BPA, or any other plastic used in place of BPA, there will be contamination problems whenever plastic contacts hot substances that we consume. And, I know that as a parent- that coffee can be a critical part of getting through the day at times! So, if it is something you consume daily, just make the best choices you can! Btw- I wrote this article in 2012, there may well be updates to the system now to include stainless steel- there were rumors at the time that it might be in development to get around this problem, but I do not know. If anyone else has used something like this- let me know!
I would love to see the scientific study that was peer reviewed and published stating or suggesting that K-cups are causing cancer. Could you please link it?
The burden of proof is not on the company to prove a product is safe, in every way, to use. And companies have a conflict of interest even if they do invest in studies of their own products’ safety. And many times, it can take years to warn people of its effects.This is particularly the case with conditions that can be slow to appear, such as cancer and fertility problems. A good example is with our history with tobacco: “In 1994, heads of the major U.S. tobacco companies testified before Congress that the evidence that cigarette smoking caused diseases such as cancer and heart disease was inconclusive, that cigarettes were not addictive, and that they did not market to children.” How many years were Americans smoking cigarettes before even that false statement came out? I believe in helping people to make the best health-related decisions possible, based on the available evidence at hand. If you can make a simple change that could have beneficial implications for you, and your future generations, isn’t it worth it?
Is anything really safe anymore? I understand where your coming from. I like to be informed and updated on things like this. People are going to do what they want to do regardless of the health issues. Thank you for the information.
AGREED!!! Living, is dangerous for your health. Thank you for your comment. If I lived worrying about everything that would also be dangerous to my health.
Well what about heating food and liquids in the microwave, a lot of the time that is done in plastic containers. I use a breathing device for sleep apnea it heats up water that sits in a plastic reservoir. Are these techniques and devices equally bad? The breathing machine is used for health reasons to doing more harm than good?
Hi Frank- great questions. I recommend to my family and patients to avoid heating foods within their plastic containers in the microwave. It is better to remove them into a microwave safe glass or ceramic container when possible. Although, it can affect the heating time of some foods- particularly sauces when they are packaged separately. As for the CPAP, no- I don’t think it is doing more harm than good. This is an example of a plastic medical device that improves health for many people. Breathing the moistened air is fine as long as the device and tubing is kept clean as the manufacturer recommends.
Well said. I agree with you 100%. Thank you.
I agree Kelli!! I’m tired of reading about how EVERYTHING in the world is not good for you! I think it’s all getting out of hand! Have no intention of stopping to use my keurig. I love it!
Same here will continue to use my Keurig cups.
We are told the air we breathe is slowly killing us, are you Idiots thinking of quitting Breathing ?? Come on, 100 years ago, life expectancy was 60-70 years–it is now normal to live to the age of 90, and longer !
We can’t stop breathing and still live. But we can easily reduce how often we drink hot, acidic beverages from plastic containers.
Amen, Kelli. You took the words out of my mouth.
Buy a Chemex Glass Pour through coffe system with stainless steal filter and don’t send your kid to school with yogurt, it’s most likely terrible for them. Substitute fresh fruit and mixed raw nuts with your own seasoning blend (I like pepper, sea salt, and smoked Paprika)…problems solved, stop bitching and take care of yourself and your child.
People are posting solutions. Try reading instead of ranting.
there are various types of plastic. BPA free are what you should be looking for. This knowledge about plastics and the health problems associated with them have been out there for years. It makes me sad to see someone who does not at least make further a inquiry into whether something has some truth or validity to it. For your daughters sake and her future reproductive health you should do your best to give her a fighting chance in this world. Read any magazines geared to a natural and organic lifestyle and check our websites for people and children with autism. you will learn a lot about to eliminate….doing a small part is a big step…good luck
A coffee press has very little, if any, plastic. You can purchase one for about 20 dollars. It makes delicious coffee and makes about 4 to 6 cups. You can make just 2 if you wanted. I love it!
amen Kelli so true
Kelli, you could not be more accurate. I love mine just the way it is; love the taste and nothing beats a one minute fresh cup of coffee. Not changing anything.
Thank you so very much for saying all 0f this. Frankly, I’m tired of worrying about everything I eat and drink and I really just want to enjoy my cup of coffee!
Plastic is also used in many surgical procedures… heart bypass; blood donations; blood transfusions; etc. boggles the mind.
Kelli, thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking. All coffee makers have plastic baskets, tubes, innards, reservioirs, etc. unless you use a perk or press type. I bought some reusable Cafe Cups to use in my Keurig but the coffee doesn’t come out well with them, kinda watery and bitter and very light. They have stainless steel mesh sides, but the framework of them are still plastic with no BPA. So I ended up using kcups to get a good tasting coffee. I do agree that we don’t need zillions of k-cups in the landfill and that they likely aren’t good for you. Maybe I will have to order one of the completely stainless reusable ones listed above and see if the coffee comes out ok with it. I just told my husband yesterday…not even 24 hours ago “how long do you think it will be until they announce that coffee from kcups is bad for your health” and voila…I find this today, lol.
Love this, thanks.
Good answer Kelli..I agree with you…I love my Kerig.
[…] to The Mommy Illuminati for this informative […]
So… do you have lab results on the amount of chemicals leaked by the kcups or is your page just an article where a scare tactic is used to make others think about the consequence before one is found….?
Yes, there are plenty of study summaries that can be found on Pubmed with amounts and types of chemicals leached from food grade plastics under a variety of conditions. You will see a link to one of my prior articles on “Plastic Water Bottles” in the text of this blog post that references a few of them.
Would this be the same for Tassimo discs?
I am not familiar with the Tassimo system and T-discs. You might consider calling their company and getting more information about the materials used in their system and discs, and they might know if there is a compatible stainless steel version of the discs that can be adapted with their system. And if you do, please let me know what you find out!
I buy my Keurig coffee pods from Loblaw’s grocery store in Canada. The plastic cup part has been eliminated and a tea-bag-like pouch holds the grinds. AND these pods are cheaper than the K-cups.
Is there a way to order online their k-cups?
Thank you for speaking out. My frequent headaches were finally traced to plastic food and beverage containers, especially the resin linings in cans of tomatoes and beans–which of course are heat processed! Buying fresh foods and using only glass containers solved the problem. Is everyone else being poisoned???
Joanne – I’m just curious as to how you came across your link to headaches and the plastic food containers? I also suffer from very frequent headaches but wouldn’t even know where to begin to find the link.
Suzanne, over time, and at the suggestion of some Excedrin literature, I observed whatever seemed to precede a headache. (I found especially puzzling that a glass of ginger ale at bedtime was one such trigger.) What finally solved the problem was that three mornings in a row I woke with a whopping headache, very unusual for morning. I examined what I had been doing differently for the prior three days. Then I got it. I had bought some brand new plastic water bottles and filled them with ice water, and sipped from them whenever I woke during the night with a hot flash. I had suspected plastic (from that ginger ale puzzle), so I switched to glass and had no more morning headaches. Ditto with those pretty white resin linings in cans of chili, stewed tomatoes, and now beans. A meal of chili would send me straight for the Excedrin bottle. I no longer consume sodas or juices that are sold in plastic, and I don’t use plastic containers for hot leftovers or coffee. My headaches are largely gone now. Whenever one does appear, I can usually trace it to restaurant food or something from a pot luck gathering. It took me literally years to figure this out. Once I did, the remedy was simple. I try to spread the word about this with everyone I meet. Thank you for asking. Joanne
I have been using the reusable k cup for ever! So much cheaper than buying k cups and I cab use the coffee I love .
“K-Cup® and Vue® packs do not contain BPA and are constructed using FDA-approved food safe materials. We also use FDA-approved food safe materials in our K-Cup® and Vue® brewing systems, and neither system contains BPA within its water paths (as of January 1, 2010 for our K-Cup® system).”
They must be lying..
Bisphenol A or BPA is only one of many estrogenic materials in present food grade plastics.
The FDA has also approved the use of fluoride in tap water…just saying..
As Ronnie said, the San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee company has a biodegradable pod. They say it’s 97%. No plastic kcup. It’s all my family drinks. http://www.gourmet-coffee.com/home.php
Thanks for your comment and for the information. It does appear that there is only a plastic ring that helps secure it into place, but does not contact the hot water. I am putting it into my post.
I also switched to San Francisco Bay pods. I like that they are mostly biodegradable, and the coffee tastes better, too. I’m hoping this style of pod becomes the standard, not the exception. Just seems to make sense in so many ways. I get my pods at Costco – they run about 35 cents a pod, so cheaper than most, to boot!
Can anyone comment on the carafe-less coffee pot that holds the coffee in a plastic reserve tank? Thanks.
Thank you for asking as I was wondering the same. We use the same type of system. Will be following.
I thought it was a great idea when it first came out. Then a friend of mine bought one and I had a cup of “carafe” coffee. Definitely tasted plastic! Almost as much as I tasted the coffee itself. Never bought one of those. My greatest discovery was the Keurig! Though I had to exchange the machine 3 times over 2 years because of malfunctioning. I use the Ekobrew stainless steel reusable K-cup. Love it. I understand the new Bunn version is the best of the K-cup kind of brewer on the market today. If my Keurig fails again, I’m gonna try one:)
If I’m reading this correctly the author is citing 1. K cups use plastic, 2. high heat plus acidic coffee might degrade the plastic, based on other but not the same combination of heat and plastic. This shouldn’t be that hard: brew some cups of coffee w/K Cup; use the same brand of coffee and brew some cups in a more traditional manner, or one of those reusable, non-plastic cups, and test both for the specific chemicals you are concerned about–there are some specific ones designated, yes?
If this k-cup thing about the plastic being harmful then someone needs to really investigate and study it more..while doing that put out a recall till its done we dont need people getting ill or for that matter having alot of lawsuits!!!! Please do the right thing..thanks for listening..hope to see a change soon!!!!
“Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, is a pseudoscientific form of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathy favors a holistic approach with non-invasive treatment and generally avoids the use of surgery and drugs. Among naturopaths, complete rejection of biomedicine and modern science is common.”
Eric, you bring up an important point- many states in the U.S. still do not regulate my profession, which means that someone could simply take an online course and call themselves a “naturopath.” Naturopathic physicians/doctors like me have completed medical school with the same hours in basic sciences and medical sciences and clinical rotations that any medical doctor must have as a starting point in their training. In addition to that, we also have to complete many hours of training in the nutritional sciences,environmental medicine, counseling and others as requirements for our degrees. We must pass rigorous board exams and keep up with continuing education requirements for licensure, including the latest in primary care level pharmacy. I prescribe conventional medications whenever appropriate and always try to use the best of what modern medical science has to offer within the scope of my practice. I was a research assistant in medical school, practiced as an EMT for 4 years, and volunteered for many years in a childrens’ hospital- so I have a healthy respect for modern science as a critical foundation of my practice and education of others.
Good rebuttal, Cora.
No, it isn’t ’nuff,’ buddy. My wife suffered for over 20 years with serious ‘female’ problems. We saw specialists in New Orleans & Houston. The ob/gyn in Houston was supposed to be “the best” at treating women with serious, debilitating menstrual cycles in all of Texas. No success–at all! (But a huge bill:) Then, my wife saw a naturopathic doctor. One visit…just ONE visit and in 3 months my wife’s problems were completely gone and have never reoccurred!! That was in 1992. Your perception is not uncommon. I was leery myself!! Now…I am a believer!
I use an espresso machine. Four scoops of coffee makes four shots. I use one scoop & enough water for four shots. Presto, one great cup of yum.
Commonsense doesn’t seem to be so common any longer. So if what this article is claiming to be fact with 0 evidence anyone drinking coffee from anywhere that serves it in a to go fashion is polluting people. I say this because everyone uses the same plastic in k-cup as the plastic lids you drink through in regards to a delicious cup of coffee. Having made this statement there are more then enough litigious people out there to sue companies using UNSAFE plastic lids. Stupid people sued MickeyDee’s because they spilt HOT coffee on themselves and the container wasn’t labeled HOT.
Until someone comes up with verifiable evidence then all of this is sheer conjecture and anyone believing it is being led by opinion and not FACT. Which is one of the main reasons our country is falling apart because people believe the non-sense and don’t use commonsense and facts.
Actually, you need to get your data correct. The lady did spill coffee on herself, but the coffee was at a degree that it caused third degree burns. All she asked for was that the company turn down the heat some, so that others were not burn like she was. And, they had received over 100 complaints about being seriously burned by their coffee before she was, and they choose to ignore it.
As for people not suing commons sense, that is exactly what this article is stating. People assume that just because something is sold and marketed to us, then it must be safe. This is not necessarily true in today’s world. Profits beat out safety evertime.
Karen I am not sure if you are aware but Starbucks serves coffee at the same temp that McDonalds did before they lost the 70’s lawsuit and in some cases 5-10 degrees higher and coffee brews at 210F. The lawsuit was 100% frivolous considering she removed the top off the coffee and spilled it on herself while sitting in the passenger seat. That’s like me sueing a soldering iron company because I was stupid and dropped it on my leg while it was on. I am about facts.
Going back to my point. There is no proof out there that this plastic that covers coffee cups and also contains the coffee grounds in the K-Cup causes anything other then a nice warm feeling and a bit of a buzz after you drink the coffee.
Sorry keyboard recorded 90’s as 70’s. The lady that sued was 79. I am confident that senility might have had a factor.
The McDonalds where I live is in such a hurry to get the food and drinks through the drive up window that I can’t count how many times they don’t have the lid completely on. I’ve had it spilled on me in that manner. And if I’m being poisoned by my Keurig, than it won’t take long. I probably use it 8 to 10 times a day.
McDonald’s now puts the creamer and/or sugar in the coffee for the customer, unless requested otherwise, and they have lowered their serving temperature. Starbucks serves at temperature requested by the customer. So everyone is safer now. The lady who suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns went into shock, was hospitalized for a week, endured multiple skin graft surgeries, and never regained her pre-injury strength. Her life was forever changed. She would have died without emergency help. Her bills totalled $10,000. She tried to settle with McDonalds for just the deductible part of her bills…but their maximum offer was $800, and they refused to consider making any changes to their coffee policies. Their attitude of unconcern in court miffed the jury so badly that the jury raised the settlement amount much higher than what was originally requested. The lady was mocked endlessly, and the lawsuit surely did sound frivolous as it was reported to us, but I think if most people knew the details of the case, they’d have a different attitude both towards McDonald’s and towards the injured lady. Back to her drive-thru order: what if McDonald’s had provided her with a cardboard drink holder to stabilize the cup, knowing that she would be opening a tight lid to get to a very full cup of 205 degree liquid, balancing that while opening little plastic cups of creamer, opening that little plastic stirrer, and opening her packet of sweetener…all while seated in the car. Most people don’t have a table surface in front of them while seated in their cars… We need to be fair to the now-deceased lady and her family, because she wasn’t really as stupid or greedy as we have been led to believe! Thinking now about those styrofoam coffee cups topped with plastic lids holding 205 degree liquid…oh dear.
Thank you for giving those details. It makes me crazy when I hear people misquote the lawsuit and mock her.
As a non-pod drinker, I use an old Braun 12 cup drip coffee maker I’ve had for many years. The entire thing is plastic, other than the carafe. All the tubing inside that carries the boiling hot water that is not visible is also likely plastic. This was produced prior to BPA being discussed, much less avoided.
In order to avoid the plastics, I purchased a glass and stainless press. To me, this is positively the most inconvenient not to mention time consuming way to make coffee, although its a good cup.
Are there any other solutions for us out there? I would love to know if any manufacturer has invented something like my mother’s old percolator, all stainless, but in this 12 cup drip form!? If anyone knows of anything like this, please PLEASE respond!
I bought a French press recently, also, and I plan to use it once I read the directions. I think it’s safer than other methods. I’ve been using a Melita single-cup cone system (boil water in stainless steel pot, put coffee in paper filter inside hard, clear, plastic cone, pour water through it) for a long time, and my Melita cones must be at least 15 years old by now. There is little sign on wear on them, so if they’re poisoning me, it’s very slowly. I’d better read up. I won’t use my “new” (5 y/o) electric coffeemaker because I could taste the plastic on the first try, and I abandoned it.
We’ve been using the San Fransisco Bay kcups for well over two years now in our Keurig. Love it!
How do you keep them fresh?
Although I appreciate the premise of this article, I think it should be noted that approximately 60% (and growing by 40%/year) of modern residential plumbing is plastic. More specifically, it’s PEX (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-linked_polyethylene). Chances are, if you live in a newer home, all the water that comes out of your tap just traveled through a bunch of plastic. Understanding the underlying concern of K-cups because they are subjected to high heat and the resultant increase in leaching, you should also be aware that the same is true for all the hot water that comes out of your faucet (assuming you have PEX piping in your house). Bearing this in mind, I’m not sure that alleviating K-cup use is really going to help much when your already cooking with, washing yourself with, washing your dishes with…etc. hot water that came through a bunch of plastic tubing.
We’re all gonna die of something someday. If quick easy coffee makes your life better while you’re here on Earth I wouldn’t really sweat it.
Wow! Never thought about this! Very good point.
It seems as though anything that becomes popular suddenly becomes a health risk, whether it be eggs, cell phones, water bottles, keurig cups, so what will be next. It seems like there are people who’s mission in life is to make people miserable by finding something wrong with everything. Maybe the plastic cups arent exactly good for me but does that mean that coffee i can buy in a tin can is any better for me. Tin rusts. So then what. Paper filters are made from tree products…is it really good for your coffee to go through those as well. Thanks for an interesting article, but i am going to stick with and enjoy my Keurig coffee.
I’ve honestly though if it’s the taste I like, I have a reusable cup, why not just tear the kcup open and poor it into there?
That is what I was thinking, by placing the grounds from the plastic cup to the reusable stainless you get the convenience and variety of flavors with less heated plastic. However. I still have concern with the brewer itself. i don’t wish to be a lemming, but the concern over plastics does seem to be valid. Why would a company in this time not be able to design a safer system and why would they put product in cups that do not disclose what they are made of? Furthermore, they are not able to be recycled. If one believed in conspiracy theories we could assume that Teflon, Plastics with EA, Flu shots with mercury and Ebola are all secret ways of population control! Since I am quite freaked out over the increase in my estrogen levels and in my daughter whom I was nursing. I thought why not ask it? I nursed 5 other children and never had those high levels and none of the others developed lumps in their breasts. My only deviation, 5 to 10 bottles of water a day for more convenient hydration( where in the past i used glass) and excessive use of my Keurig. Obviously I have no scientific tests for this, but I stopped nursing my girl and her levels dropped. After reading on k cups and plastics i stopped using both. My milk production has finally decreased and my estrogen levels lowered. We are trying to have another child and maybe I have gone off the deep end, but I do worry about the damage I have done to myself and possibly my child. I use glass whenever I can and cook in glass or stainless. I no longer use dryer sheets and use my microwave less than 5 minutes per week. I use vinegar and water to rinse my fruits and vegetables. For me, it comes down to this, weigh science, use common sense and control what you can. We all need to share our concerns as a society with each other so we can make the best decisions possible for our health and the future of the people we love after we have gone. Erring on the safe side for what we put in or on our bodies seems like a good thing. Thank you to each and every one of you for sharing. Good luck everyone! I think we need it.
What about Tassimo t-disc, has there been any studies, is it safe.
I have a nespresso maker and recycle the pods. I do not think they are plastic do you know if that is correct?
What about the internal workings of the keurig that also come into contact with the water once it’s been heated? The heating tank and tubing? Even if the tank is stainless steel, surely the tubing is not. (I don’t know for sure what either are, btw.) Would the plastic tubing not be leeching chemicals into the hot water? Would it not be safer to just such the keurig all together? That’s what I’ll be doing with mine, anyway. Thankfully it hasn’t seen use in quite some time.
I think one important fact that is missed here is the amount of time that the water is exposed to plastic in the process of making coffee with a K-Cup. Yes, hot water bottles in the car do taste nasty, but they usually sit in the car for many hours before it gets to that point. With a K-Cup, the water is preheated inside of the Keurig, pressed through the K-Cup and into your mug in a matter of _seconds_. This creates a tremendous limitation on the exposure the water has to the plastic. I would be surprised if any chemicals from leaching was even measurable.
Thank you for posting your information on plastic and the negative effects it can cause on our bodies!! unfortunately this is the world we live in!! i know enough about this to be careful of heat and plastic contamination an the harmful effect.. i have see mother’s heat there babies bottle in microwave and it turn my stomach when they wouldn’t take my advice!!
Here is a great coffee for you keurig pot.. It’s call San Francisco bay gourmet coffee..it’s 97% Bio-Degradable-organic Rainforest blend with a mesh coffee fliter non-gmo corn ring on the out side..taste amazing and no harmful effects to worries about..I buy it in Bj supper market and its coast less then all other brands!! I hope this help those that have concerns like me!! Now you can enjoy you coffee again with no worries!! Blessings ❤
I put my own coffee in the container , I don’t use the Kcup – is that all right to use this way for my health?
I came across this article from a friend and have to say, I’ve always hated these types of things with a passion. Even when we lived in Sweden 4 years ago, these were popular (Nescafe).
I dislike them for the unnecessary waste it produces and I dislike that my coffee is pre-made and pre-everything-ed for me. I like to add my own soy creamer.
I always thought these things were such a new level of laziness it was disgusting. It’s really *not that hard* to brew up a single serving of coffee. Heck, I do it all the time. There is something relaxing about grinding the beans and then measuring it out. It does not take long at all!
I like to use these Pods:
with this brewer:
it has a Pod specific attachment and does not have a resevoir that is constantly heating water like many of the keurigs
Any alternatives for the Keurig Vue Models? There is a plastic holder w/ a gold plated filter but I don’t see any stainless steel options?
I guess plastic travel mugs are out too, along with those nasty plastic coffee makers like the Mr Coffee unit I use daily. I guess we should just chew the grounds.
We’re all going to die from something. Enjoy every day your given.
Check this out mom.
“I’m not saying that we should start killing stupid people, just take the warning labels off everything and let nature sort itself out!” I think that Dr. Rivard is going way out of her way to warn you about a real concern and there are solutions that don’t involve being afraid of everything and giving up on using anything. There is tons of research to support her argument, here’s a link to one article which shows these results: Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled—independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source—leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/ and this is coming from the government. I use glass containers, I don’t drink out of coffee cups with plastic lids, I put my coffee or tea into a thermos and pour into a small, thick water glass. I get all of my water from a vendor and in only glass containers, I have filters on my showers and I eat organic as well as pay attention to the ingredients labels on all items that affect my health; shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, etc. Dr. Rivard is giving you the warning label, choose to ignore it and you will be the next burden on our healthcare system as well as your unwitting children. Use common sense, live a clean happy life, and control the chemicals you can and try not to worry too much about the rest.
Well put Justin … We can do so much to have a healthy joyful life
I agree that they produce unnecessary waste and the reuseable or San Francisco brand is a better way to go, however, I’m not sure the BPA claim is correct. Please check out number 11:
You can’t do everything perfectly and you can’t worry about everything you do. Moderation is key in my opinion, if you drink 10 k-cup coffees a day, you’re drinking too much coffee anyway. If you drink one or two a day, I don’t think there’s that much to worry about. People need to be more concerned about avoiding white sugar and white flower, eating more fruit and veggies, drinking more water, whether in plastic bottles or now.
Reblogged this on Wordgasm and commented:
I don’t normally drink these, only have had them a few times but this is for any of you who drink them on the daily!!
Why are you suggesting people move to a percolator? They haven’t been in common use since the 60s! Drip Coffee makers, Bodum pression, even old Melitas all work just fine.
Is the same true for the verisimo version made by Starbucks?
Key word, “might.”
I have the same question someone else asked that wasn’t answered. I have Nespresso and the capsules are recyclable. Do you know if there are similar risks with these? Thank you in advance for answering…
Nespresso is aluminum. There is no plastic in the pod. From what I read in their info booklet the caps are coated with vegetable oil before they are filled. This lining disappears so they can be easily recycled. I’ve never noticed it affecting the flavor at all, so it must be light. Only espresso strength coffee goes into the pods. They say this is because they are concerned both about how additives affect the flavor and how it might affect allergens. Vegetable oil and aluminum should be safe right? I am guessing since they would be lawsuit liable for not disclosing what was in it?
Nespresso capsules are not made of plastic. You should be fine using them. We switched from K-cup to Nespresso 1.5 years ago and have loved our coffee ever since.
Keurig claims their kcups and vue pods are BPA free
Cora, I am wondering if you have any information about Nespresso pods. We have been using the Nespresso machine for a few years now and just recently I started really thinking about the aluminum foil that gets punctured to let the water flow through to make the cup of coffee. I am a certified nutritionist and would really like to have an answer to give on this question. My thought had been that the amount of time the water takes to flow through the foil is so minute it may have a negligible effect. Your thoughts?
Hi Christina- I haven’t had the time to properly address the many questions raised lately by this post. The short answer to this is- I am unaware of any problems of significant amounts of aluminum leaching into foods or drink when exposed to temperature extremes. I know there have been concerns about aluminum levels in the brain and conditions like Alzheimer’s- but we only know that this can be a correlation, and is not representative of cause. Also, aluminum is commonly present as an element in a natural environment. While there are obviously metals that we don’t want a lot of exposure to, I have been more interested in past years of the huge and recent influx of our exposure to synthetic chemicals that are endocrine disruptors. I am unfamiliar with the Nespresso pods- but I would start by finding out from the company whether they use any kind of film or plastic coating as a layer between the foil and the coffee. Also, I did find 2 articles that might be of interest to you to read on the topic:
hope this helps as a starting point.
I use the nespresso. The top of the pods is foil and the pod is aluminum. I am guessing that it is not lined because it is recyclable, and if I understand it correctly, its hard to recycle lined aluminum because of the separation issues. The outer case of the machine is plastic, but the inside seems to be metal and silicone.
I initially chose the Nespresso over the Keurig because k-cups aren’t recyclable and the idea of causes that much waste daily bothered me. Seems it was a good thing for other reasons as well.
[…] night, I came across this blog post: How K-Cups Might Damage Your Metabolism, Reproductive Health, and Cause Cancer. I love my Keurig and use it often but the info in the post has me questioning this common kitchen […]
How about having a brewed K-cup analyzed, and show us facts, instead of concerns?
I am not saying that it isn’t leaching, but come on what if it is so small that it is no worry.
Some of the things listed to cause cancer in lab rats in California was something that was feed to the rat at such a large dosage, that a human would never consume that much of the ingredient in their life time.
Hi Steve, that would be great if an unbiased organization such as Environmental Working Group could take on researching and maybe even promoting further new studies for such a topic:
Here is something you can do as a starting point- look at the K-cup and find out the recycling number or symbol on it. This number can help guide you to find out which mix of chemicals are used in that particular product. What number do you see? What numbers do others see on other pod products?
Also, research into low dose exposures over long periods of time are largely absent in a lot of consumer safety studies. I don’t think anyone is going to actually eat enough k-cups over a period of days to kill themselves, but what about the exposures that a 2 or 3 cup a day consumer gets over many years?
Interesting read. I would like to add a comment about a danger of plastic that I have personally experienced. Those “mesh bladder slings” that you hear about on commercials for law firms? Well, I’m one of the unfortunate women who had one of those plastic/polypropylene slings implanted. And if a person can experience problems just by plastic leaching into food microwaved in it, imagine how many problems can be caused by having a piece of plastic implanted in your body. The body’s heat breaks down parts of the plastic mesh, leaches chemicals into the body, and causes a huge number of complications. I personally have experienced debilitating pain, 7 surgeries in 3 years to try to remove the mesh, and 4 years later am still in severe pelvic pain. And there are 60,000+ women in the U.S. alone who are in the same boat as I am. We don’t hear a lot about it on the news, because the manufacturers of this plastic mesh are big companies who are major advertisers for the networks. But believe me, the danger is very real. In addition to pain, erosion, infection, and other very painful physical damages, plastic mesh implants are now being shown to cause a host of autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia, lupus, and even some cancers. If ingesting foods that are heated in plastic can cause problems, it would follow that having the plastic actually implanted in our bodies can be a disaster. It has been a nightmare for me, and for many people I know. So when I saw this article, I just wanted to add my ‘2 cents’ and warn people to do your research before agreeing to a plastic mesh implant – whether for a bladder prolapse or for a hernia. There are ways to fix these conditions using your own body tissue instead of polypropylene mesh. I wish someone had told me about the other options 4 years ago when I agreed to have this implant, with absolutely no warnings that it would change me from a happy, healthy, active, athletic wife and mom of 4 kids to a disabled woman who is in constant pain. Thank you for reading this, I hope it helps someone in some way.
The EWG is unbiased? Hardly.
This article just came out about there being no safe levels of BPA. That’s just great!
My machine only takes VUE cups. What do u suggest I use for this? Help!
Relax. I called and every pladtic part that touches the water or coffee is BPAfree
I really laughed at the heading “MIGHT” cause cancer! Not will, shall, maybe, but MIGHT! Do you know how many things on this planet Might cause cancer and people panic every time they hear a new one! The water you drink, the air you breath, the soil in your yard, painting your living room, coloring your hair etc.! I am a ten year cancer survivor and no one knows what caused my cancer, but I will not live a life of fear because someone thinks something MIGHT cause cancer. I could get hit by an 18 wheeler and die before my K-cups kill me! Going to have a big cup of hot coffee from my Keurig and enjoy my life!
I am a survivor too and am going to not worry and I am enjoying my life too GOD IS IN CONTROL.
We love our Keurig, and use both the k-cups and the stainless “brew your own” cup. And to be fair to Keurig, it must be said…
All K-Cup® packs, Vue™ packs, and all water path components of Keurig® home brewers are free of Bisphenol-A (BPA).
“Although some parts of the Keurig Brewers do contain BPA, these do not come in contact with the water or grinds used to brew fresh coffee. Neither the cold water reservoirs nor the internal water pipeline contains BPA.”
What is different between brewing coffee from a plastic k-cup and putting a paper filter into a plastic holder on a drip coffee maker? The plastic cup that holds the filter and coffee heats up as well.
Check this out…
What about the internals then? Most kurig machines are made of plastic and the pips that bring up thr boiled water is also plastic.
I use a french press – hands down the best tasting coffee. Much better than anything that comes out of a kuerig. And its made of glass, with no electronic parts to break.
Has anyone actually measured how much BPA is in a mug of K cup coffee? Until someone actually proves there is measurable amount of BPA in my K cup I will continue to drink it daily.
I DISAGREE because it isn’t exposed to the hot water long enough to cause any harm. it is so fast. and tastes just fine to me . I also have the silver k. cup too. but will keep an open mind about this.
What do you think about Nespresso which uses a metal capsule? I don’t know if its aluminum or what exactly.
I love it! And yes aluminum – and recyclable. I would like to know if anyone has thoughts on this one though.
Long-term risk = Alzheimers/dementia
That’s been debunked. See above.
I am a material scientist and though I agree with everything that was said about plastic leeching, I did not see anything that explicitly discussed the material properties of the k-cup plastic. Different formulations of plastic leech at different rates and under different conditions. Before we throw K-cups under the bus, we should investigate the leeching properties SPECIFIC to the k-cup plastic and quantify the real danger here
The San Francisco Bay OneCups do NOT have any plastic.
They are made with renewable, natural rescources such as soy, corn, potato and wood pulp. These natural ingredients are also certified as non-GMO.
We feel that this is absolutely the best environmental and personal health option available for the single serve Keurig machine.
I am a little biased as my family worked for over 3 years to get this product to market.
John W. Rogers
Check out our website for more information
The science is not there. K-cups do not contain BPA. K-cups are likely no more dangerous than those plastic tops you put on your disposable coffee cup. Even reusable coffee mugs are often plastic based (and also don’t contain BPA). In terms of filling up landfills, the trash from a kcup is far less than the coffee cup at any Starbucks like place. Costco sells some kcups without the plastic bottoms and the coffee is pretty good. My point is don’t vilify the kcup because the alternatives are just inconvenient enough that you will be tempted to go to a Starbucks and use a disposable cup.
Reblogged this on FgXpress-yourself and commented:
Makes you think for sure!!
Interesting, I try to stay away from plastics but it is impossible. These refillable cups are better than the one time use ones for sure. Really though using the refillables is no different than when I used our coffee pot because the paper filters were held by a plastic holder!!! Thanks for the article !! Sylvia
Yes! My husband and I purchased a keurig and a few boxes of k-cups in December and we’ve probably used less than 10. I can’t get passed the taste. It TASTES like plastic to me! Maybe its just the new machine (though we ran SEVERAL rounds of water though it before we ever made coffee or tea with it), but I couldn’t help thinking that heating the plastic up like that and brewing my beverage through it was what was causing it to taste so “plasticky.” Thanks for posting the link for amazon. We’ll check that out and see if it solves the issue for us.
We bought a nespresso machine instead because we were concerned about a) the hot plastic and b) that the k-cups couldn’t be recycled. Nespresso pods are aluminum which while there are possible issues with that, at least its much less than the plastic k-cups. And they can be recycled.
[…] Read More: How K-Cups Might Damage Your Metabolism, Reproductive Health, and Cause Cancer […]
I see what you’re saying here but I agree with at the end of the day if you are truly worried about plastic and the leaching of estrogens and toxins you shouldn’t use a keurig, period. Whether or not you use a stainless steel reusable cup or 90% bio k cups or organic coffee it doesn’t matter! I have a keurig and we share a love and hate relationship…I’m very busy and so enjoy the readiness of the keurig. But I know it’s not as safe to use as my glass perculator…we live in a convenience world now and that’s that. Make peace with your decisions and make the wisest choices for environment…I use kienna pods, onecup organic and a reusable filter. It doesn’t get any greener than that if you are using a keurig! One cup organic is simply the easiest and best one I’ve found being 90% bio and using way less plastic than the k cup. The original k cup is pretty gross to me and I can definetly taste a difference. Good luck everyone!
[…] Good Reads: K-Cups, more than just a waste of material. […]
What about options for the Tassimo? Are there reusable cups made for it?
Have there been any studies that have actually looked at this? I’d be interested in whether or not the short time the water passes through the plastic actually releases a dangerous level of chemicals from the plastic? Yes, in general, I totally understand the basic problem of heat and plastic food packaging, but I’d like to see more data before we completely demonize a company’s product.
This isn’t all about what we want individually, this is about what we leave behind us for future generations to deal with when we go. Our children and grandchildren and so forth will be tasked with cleaning up the mess those before us have made and that WE have MASSIVELY contributed to as a global society, as well as what mess our children make after witnessing OUR example. Plastics do not biodegrade in a reasonable time frame, burning plastics as a means of disposal is highly toxic. We’ve allowed ourselves to become alienated from where the products we use every day come from, we’ve removed ourselves from worrying about what products are comprised of, packed within, and in the case of meat products, the quality of life those creatures knew before being slaughtered and carved into shapes that remove the connection in our minds of that product to a once living thing. I am not a vegetarian, but I respect the fact that my lunch meat was once a living being, I try to be very mindful about where my chosen meats come from. We once knew the farmers that raised the animals we eat, perhaps even fed a future burger we ate through a farmer’s fence as a child. This particular effort regarding K-cups may indeed be “a drop in a bucket”, but enough droplets will fill the bucket. If you can only be “one droplet” in multiple small ways, you’re doing your part. We each have a tiny wrench to help repair this world or to toss into the gears of someone else’s efforts… turn it, don’t toss it. http://lawrenceroman.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/what-is-non-biodegradable-green-environment-noplastic/
42 and no cancers. Lotsa red meat, coffee and wheat beer. I’m just built out of tougher stuff than most people, I guess. 😉
Camerons makes a k cup that is not plastic it is a mesh bag on the bottom
Would’nt brewing in any drip coffee maker have a problem with hot water coming into contact with plastic. All coffee makers are made from plastic.
My coffee maker is plastic. ….
I am so sick of hearing how everything we come in contact with or eat is bad for us. Good grief, we will live until God decides to take us, enjoy life while you can, a person could go crazy worrying about all the things that are going to kill us, why don’t we just go ahead and live in a bubble, fed thru a tube, no communication with the outside. Oh wait maybe that bubble has toxic material,, come on people live your life,,, stop worrying. whats going to happen is going to happen. Your chances of getting killed in a car accident is far greater than the foods you put in your mouth..
Actually, about 1 in 3 of us in the U.S. will have to deal with the complications of diabetes, and this is highly correlated to the foods, drinks and chemicals we put in our mouths. We don’t need to live in fear of what we consume, but I think we need to stay vigilant about making safe choices, especially when we have the luxury of so many choices about what and how we eat and drink.
I tried to find an all stainless steel percolator recently and could NOT find one! They all have aluminum (ack!) on the inside. Do you have any leads on an all steel one?? Thanks! 🙂
I use the rounds brand k cups the bottom is a normal coffee filter no plastic found at pick n save
hmmmm. . . interesting food for thot . . . just wonderring, what about all the coffee sitting in the coffee-maker going thru the plastic tubes in the machine before it comes out – is that not water being heated in more plastic . . . ?
[…] https://themommyilluminati.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/how-k-cups-might-damage-your-metabolism-reproduct… […]
We bought one this past Christmas thru CostCo as a present to ourselves because it seemed like a convenient idea. We hadn’t planned on using the large variety pack of K-cups that came with it (too many unpronounceable chemicals in those little K-cups). We got it because it also came with a little gold screened refillable filter basket that one could fill with organic coffee. It was such a pain in the patoot to clean the grounds from the little basket each time (each cup), and it also made a very lousy weak tasting cup of coffee. It’s also a really huge contraption and takes up too much counter space. And too much hot plastic. So we returned the damned thing!
New England Coffee also makes those k cup pods with the plastic ring around the top and a paper filter on bottom. I save them and remove the grounds for my compost.
Whatever happened to the good old Turkish coffee (you brew in a stainless steel pot called ibrik right on the stove) or a French press? Both are so easy to make and the coffee tastes great! You just need to get a few implements. Our biggest problem with all this fast food/fast drink is that we don’t like to be “inconvenienced” by any kind of effort. However, anything that is not tended in life tends to wither, including our health.
I use a cloth colander, which is a method that has been in Puerto Rico for generations for making their espresso and Caffè con leche. It cost $2.00. Since I moved back to my Island recently after living 45 years in Pennsylvania, I went back to this method and I love it !!!!!
Wide awake coffee pods have a small plastic ring and the foil top. The coffee sits in a filter bottom. .. they are great tasting too!
Oh boy. My work has K cups, and I’ve been drinking them for a couple years now and shushing that little voice in the back of my head that keeps saying, “I don’t know about those things . . . .” Now that little voice is going, “You see? You see?! Step away from the machine!” Thanks for the info. I needed this extra nudge to change my habit.
I have also read that brewing coffee in the “usual” manner, through a paper filter, removes certain components that can cause an adverse change in cholesterol profile (namely decreased HDL) and has been looked at in drinkers of regular coffee vs french press.
K- cups made my nose crinkle from the very first time I heard of the concept – such a waste! And who only drinks one tiny cup of coffee at a time anyhow??? 😉
What about your everyday run of the mill Mr. coffee Maker this is plastic is this save?
It is totally bizarre to me that you don’t actually link to a single study in your article. In the comments, Grady asked you for a single peer-reviewed study that proved your point and you dodged the question. Did you read the study that NPR cited, or did you just read NPR? Why not discuss the study as a doctor instead of discussing the news article? NPR writes that Bittner, the author of the study, “has a financial interest in the testing lab and in a company involved in making plastic products that don’t release estrogenic chemicals.” Does that mean the study is wrong? No. But showing both sides of the issue doesn’t make their point weaker, it gives it legitimacy. I doubt you know anymore about the composition of plastic in a K-Cup than I do, as the actual study NPR cites suggests that: “plastic products typically do not list their chemical composition, which is proprietary to the manufacturer.” The article says that 95% percent of plastic products leached EA chemicals. Are K-Cups in that 5%? Do you know the answer to that? What authority do you have to comment on this study? You may have the best intentions in pointing people towards a serious health risk, but you must do so responsibly.
I appreciate your thoughtful critique to my article. But I think I justify my concerns clearly. True, none of us have any way of knowing what plastics compose a k-cup, and since it can’t be recycled- we can’t even narrow it down to a specific range of chemicals. Does the k-cup composition fall into the 5% of plastics tested that don’t leach that you referenced, or the 95% that do? I don’t know, but statistically speaking, the latter is the greater possibility. But the whole point is, why wait? When I wrote this article a couple years ago, BPA was being pulled from k-cup composition over public concern over that particular chemical. I think public concern can go a long way to support demand for safer products. So, I now task you to produce a study that shows that the chemicals leached from single use plastic cups do not increase risk of chronic disease and cancer after 5 or 10+ years of daily use. I will be over here enjoying a safer (and better tasting, more environmentally friendly) cup of coffee, so take your time.
If you really want to have quick coffee in the morning then get a Bunn MCU! It has a ground coffee basket with stainless steel filter, a stainless steel water tank. Minimal plastic parts which are all BPA free. And the coffee is the best I have tasted! It also has a k cup drawer so you can use the filter bottom SF K cups, and a pod drawer which accepts the paper filter coffee packs. Oh, and a separate drawer for water so it doesn’t taste like coffee in your oatmeal. Maximum flexibility with minimum waste and risk. And did I mention the coffee is way better than with my old Keurig?
[…] are very common amenities in hotel rooms as are Nespressos and other one-cup coffee wonders. But this article, published in 2012, has recently been making the rounds on the internet about the dangers of the […]
[…] a whole pot. They are convenient. I did not go into a lecture of the waste of plastic nor the risks of the plastic seeping into the cup of coffee and causing cancer. Nor that using the pods is equal to spending $50 per pound of coffee. Again I thought she was […]
[…] are very common amenities in hotel rooms as are Nespressos and other one-cup coffee wonders. But this article, published in 2012, has recently been making the rounds on the internet about the dangers of the […]
[…] are very common amenities in hotel rooms as are Nespressos and other one-cup coffee wonders. But this article, published in 2012, has recently been making the rounds on the internet about the dangers of the […]
Very insightful article, think you. Do you have any suggestions for safe options for the Tassimo brand?
[…] your mug:Porcelain #2 Coffee Dripper / Filter Cone. Starbucks also makes a good one. Or try a French press with steel and/or glass construction- a favorite among coffee aficionados. They even make single-serve size […]
I think there are a lot of potential organic complicated chemicals that have been created with modern manufacturing. Some are known, like leaded glass and pipes in ancient times, tin solder used in cans-BPA and its effect on health, was only known relatively recently-but then the more you go-then-car exhaust, cosmic rays hitting a grandmothers ovaries and eggs, radon, pesticides, herbicides, handling paper reciepts, Toxicity of acetometiphen on the liver. Yes-human ingenuity outstrips sometimes our ability to understand effects and actions and interactions.
If anything, it is an interesting test case, because it is under such scrutiny-when we are, for so many things, ingesting and consuming and being exposed to things we are not aware of and is not being scrutinized and studied. Interesting.
It is truly a nice and useful piece of info.
I am glad that you simply shared this useful invo with us.
Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for educating us! I just bought the stainless steel elite after reading this. Now to put organic Non-Gmo coffee in it.
Admittedly, some valid points. That’s why the reusable cartridges are the best option if you go with single cup coffee.
[…] How K-Cups Might Damage Your Metabolism, Reproductive … – Apr 04, 2014 · This subject has been a big ol’ bee in my bonnet for a long time, especially since the Keurig style coffee systems are now ubiquitous. Much focus in …… […]
yes, ronnie – san francisco bay brand. LOVE the fog chaser! 97% degradable …. and good coffee!
I just read an article in a food industry publication that discusses the dangers of plastics and packaging. As a person who is producing the world’s first 100% pure plastics which do not leach animal stearates (made from euthanized cats and dogs, road kill, Mad Cows, et al.) or pthalates (which have just been found to cause problems with baby boys’ genitals at birth), I truly appreciate articles like this one. My website is http://www.pregrp.com.
I can understand the whole plastic waste….of the 1 time use kcups…..but really….why all the freaking out….? every coffee maker i’ve used and seen since the year 1984 when I was born…..was made OF PLASTIC….lol…so, plastics and coffee have ‘gotten along’ for a long period of time…..now i knew my great grandmother was upto something, when she would bring her own percolator with her when she stayed at our house….lol, she never drank moms coffee…and she lived up until the ripe old age of 92….
Heat and acidity increase migration of chemicals from plastic into whatever is in contact. so whether it is styrophoam or plastic, these are less desirable materials to use multiple times a day, day in and day out to brew coffee or to contain hot, acidic foods. The Kcups aren’t even made from the “safer” food grade plastics, they contain untraceable and often unknowable chemical ingredients that can’t be sorted or recycled. There have been plenty of environmental contaminants over the years in many ways and forms that have estrogenic activity in the body- I realize that Kcups are only one in a multitude of things we might be exposed to. But this is something that we have a choice in whether we want to expose ourselves to it or not, and there are far better alternatives. Not to mention the other downsides (environment and increased cost.) And, I’m sure your great-grandmother had many reasons in her favor to live a full life to a ripe old age, but I admire that she traveled with her own percolator!
We all know this and I’m doing this for a school report so this is good
Yet most of you will STILL cover yourselves in toxic, cancer causing, endocrine disrupting, migraine triggering, lung irritating, etc perfume, scented laundry detergent, softener, etc etc etc.
if u love your coffee, get a saeco italian made… on sale
they are the Best
This is great info! Thank you Doc! I recently switched to a single serve grind and brew machine that turns beans and water into a cup of coffee in a few minutes. It’s great but the whole machine is plastic. Hot water is still coursing throughout it’s plastic veins and then into mine…. There must be a better way.
The manual glass or steel presses might be the best way- the way our grandmother’s did it!
I’ve had unexplained catamenial epilepsy for the past 7 years, which are seizures that relate to my menstrual cycle. 1 day out of every month I experience partial seizures for a 24 hour period. I track my menstrual cycle and can pin point the exact day I would have my episodes/seizures. For 7 years I saw every doctor that would listen to try and figure out why I went 30 years of my life seizure free, and then one day I just started having seizures out of the blue. I did lumbar punctures, MRI’s, CT Scans etc., all to realize that no one knew why I was having seizures. The options that were presented to me were, start taking medication to control the seizures or just live with it. I did not want to go on seizure medication because the side effects are horrible and I could try for the rest of my life to find a med that worked for me, and never be successful. I decided to just live with it and do my own research. In my research I found that medical doctors don’t care “why”. They are there to treat the symptoms and not there to find a solution for the problem. At that point I decided to take a look at the food products I was consuming on a daily basis. That investigation lead me to eliminate certain foods out of my diet that could be causing me to have these seizures. It took me a bit to figure it out but I eventually realized that the disposable (Tassimo) coffees I was drinking on a daily basis, could be the culprit. I eliminated the tassimo’s from my daily food intake, and I’ve been seizure free for 4 months now. Nothing else has changed from my daily routine but that. I still consume coffee, I just only drink coffee from a bodum (coffee press) now. It took me awhile but I figured it out and I couldn’t be happier.
Wow, thank you for telling your history. I am so glad to hear that you were able to find a pattern, and to be able to eliminate the things that lowered your threshold for seizures, including the disposabel plastic pods. May you continue to be well!
Hi Dr. Cora,
Have you even used Tassimo coffee machines, the coffee is in a plastic and it’s being heated by a lazed barcode reader 😦
I have been using it and wondering how safe is this.
I just purchased a Kuerig 2.0 ( K425 plus) and started reading the welcome book to figure out how to set it up for our personal preferences and on the bottom of page 10 in large letters it says WARNING this product contains chemicals, including lead which is known to the state of California to cause cancer birth defects or other reproductive harm. I am very upset…..if I would have known that I never would have used it or bought the system in the first place. Since we have already used it I am sure I can’t take it back.
I used to worked at keurig and was told by keurig legal department not to declosed to anyone that the aluminum lid that has the ink on them will cause cancer when hot water passes in k-cup into the coffee and out into your cup to drink
I was NEVER interested in using them, mostly because of all of the plastic involved, no way would I put that crap in my body. It didn’t occur to me that they weren’t recyclable or that the kind of plastic used is some kind of “industry secret” which really means it’s so toxic we can’t tell you what’s in it
I’ll stick with my old fashioned easy to clean and dry percolator
It makes great organic coffee that I mix with my homemade organic herbal coffee, (2/3 organic bean 1/3 organic herbal) a mix of burdock, chicory and dandelion all of it made with homemade organic spice infused water; all of which get composted into my garden, no waste, less trash, healthier and cost effective